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Posts Tagged ‘Thomas’

Betrayal

February 24th, 2016

“I will not take My love from him, nor will I ever betray My faithfulness.” Psalm 89:33 NIV.

Hurting people hurt others.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “betrayal.”

Betrayal is a harsh word but not a new occurrence. Everyone has felt the sting of misunderstanding, misjudgment, or unfair treatment. The experience is as old and common as time itself. Feelings of betrayal necessitate a relationship that holds positive expectations. Betrayal feels personal and usually is. David felt the sting of personal betrayal – from Saul, his king; Absalom, his son; and Ahithophel, his trusted friend and adviser. “Even my close friend (Ahithophel), whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” Psalm 41:9 NIV. David understood his own frailties and failures and forgave others as he had been forgiven. (As an interesting and relevant side note, scholars believe Ahithophel to be the father of Eliam and grandfather of Bathsheba. Might that grandfather’s disloyalty relate to David’s behavior with Bathsheba?) Betrayal of others breeds betrayal toward oneself.

Strangers or enemies cannot betray you; your expectations of the first are minimal, of the latter their unkindness is assumed. Friends and family hold unique power to inflict emotional pain. To one degree or another, friction happens in homes, at work, and even in churches. Sadly, it happens in marriages, families, and with friends or mere acquaintances. Hurting people hurt others. Knowingly or unknowingly, fallen people living in a fallen world inflict their hurts and unhappiness upon the lives of those around them. It’s usually about themselves, not the other person. Their pain causes their words and actions. It splashes out on whoever happens by.

Emotions of betrayal come in all forms and sizes, from annoyance to distress. Something as small as an unintended slight or something as large as intentional slander can both create feelings of betrayal. Judas betrayed Jesus. Matthew 27:3-5. Peter denied Jesus. Matthew 26:75. Thomas doubted Jesus. John 20:25. The disciples abandoned Jesus. Matthew 26:56. The crowds left Jesus. John 6:66-69. In differing measures, Jesus was betrayed and felt its pain, yet offered forgiveness and restoration of fellowship to each. Imagine Paul’s personal disappointment and pain as he wrote, “Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed.” 2 Timothy 4:10 NKJV. But God’s Word provides this assurance, “We have [a High Priest] who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin. Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 NIV. Jesus heals all hurts.

Betrayal is a word or action that causes emotional pain, eliciting strong reactions in return. It can be an action toward you as well as a reaction to you. As a teen, when I tried to justify hurting someone who had hurt me, my Dad would remind me, “Two wrongs never make a right.” Imperfect grammar, but he was right, of course. Obviously, there are two questions you are wise to consider. Felt betrayed by someone? Forgive, surrendering your pain to Jesus. Betrayed another’s confidence in you? Consider their pain.

When you have been betrayed, forgive. There is no better choice. Forgiving is for your benefit as much as theirs. “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Read Colossians 3:13-14 NIV. “If you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Read Matthew 6:14-15 NIV.

When you have betrayed, ask to be forgiven. There alone you find redemption. Read Matthew 5:23-24 NIV. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Read Ephesians 1:7-8 NKJV. Read Romans 4:7-8 NIV. God’s promise is true, “I will not take My love from him, nor will I ever betray My faithfulness.” Psalm 89:33 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to always trust the faithfulness of God to heal and forgive.

EDL broken trust

 

 

 

 

 

Christian Communications 2016
www.facebook.com/everydaylife.allenrandolph

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Betrayal and Amazing Grace

April 18th, 2014

“On the same night that [Jesus] was betrayed.” 1 Corinthians 11:23 NKJV.

It is as wrong to underestimate His grace as to overestimate our faith.

My thoughts and comments today are about “betrayal and amazing grace.”

Betrayal is a terrible thing. It isn’t accidental; it’s deliberate, intentionally hurting another. When it occurs, the pain is immediate and can be enduring. The reactions vary – stunned disbelief, destruction of trust, emotional pain, grief, anger, self-pity, and eventually estrangement. Be careful; betrayal is often sown in the seed of offences, harbored and unforgiven. Forgiveness is the only true remedy.

The history of man is cluttered with betrayal, beginning with Adam and Eve. Abel experienced betrayal by Cain; Jacob betrayed Esau; Joseph was betrayed by his brothers; Job felt betrayed by his friends; Absalom and Ahithophel betrayed David; David betrayed Uriah; Haman betrayed Mordecai; Demas betrayed Paul. The best and worse among us are capable of unthinkable betrayal.

The wondrous story of the Resurrection cannot be told apart from the undercurrent of betrayal. I have been intrigued by this cryptic verse, “The Lord Jesus on the same night He was betrayed took bread and said, ‘This is My body broken for you . .’” 1 Corinthians 11:23-33 NKJV. The juxtaposition of dark betrayal alongside this intimately sacred moment seems unthinkable. But Jesus was neither surprised nor stunned. “[Jesus] had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.”­ Read John 2:23-25 NKJV.

Jesus knew Judas would betray Him. For thirty pieces of silver, he identified Jesus with a kiss in Gethsemane. Jesus knew Peter would deny Him. In spite of his protests, he would do just that. Jesus knew all the disciples would forsake him. After His arrest, they all would flee in fear and self-preservation. Yet for this Passover, Jesus gathered these very disciples with a sense of strong urgency saying, “With fervent desire have I desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” Luke 22:15-16 NKJV.

This was the Passover the Exodus from Egypt foretold generations earlier. This was no casual evening. His earthly ministry and the future success of the Kingdom of God would now rest on their devotion and efforts. And He knew the shattering effect His suffering and death would have on their confidence. John later described Jesus’ intent on this fateful night, “. . Having loved His own . . He now showed them the full extent of His love.” John 13:1 NIV. They had to be persuaded of an unfailing love.

It is as wrong to underestimate His grace as to overestimate your faith. Jesus knew their frailties, as He does ours. Amazing grace. Jesus still loved them – and you, and me. He desired for them, as for us, “to know this love that surpasses knowledge.” Read Ephesians 3:17-19 NIV. As in Jesus’ parables of the lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son (Luke 15), “[Jesus] came to seek and to save what was lost.” Luke 19:10 NIV. Not only to save, but even to seek. He would seek for Judas at that Passover Meal, for Peter at a fireside on the shore of Galilee, and for the disciples, and Thomas, in an upper room where the risen Savior showed them His pierced hands and wounded side.

This Good Friday and Easter is not about Judas, Peter, or the disciples; it is about you and me. Today, and every day, Jesus offers amazing grace – second chances, renewed vows, and new beginnings.

My prayer for you today is for a joyous and glorious celebration of His Resurrection.

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Overcoming Doubt

January 30th, 2013

God’s Word and character persuade trust and dissuade doubts.

“I believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” Mark 9: 24 NIV.

A child does not begin life with doubts. They believe; belief is natural to them. Unfortunately, life soon teaches you to doubt, because there seems little about which you can be steadfastly sure. Doubt is a choice you make. You learn to doubt by experiencing people and things that are not trustworthy. You learn to doubt what you hear. Promises are made and broken. You learn to question authority; authorities are not always right and slow to admit when they aren’t. Doubt begins early and grows until stopped.

Both doubt and belief are choices you make. You can find supporting evidence for either, but you cannot do both. Doubt comes naturally; belief only comes spiritually. Doubt feels safe; belief seems risky. Doubt looks at circumstances, and questions God; belief looks at God, and questions circumstances. Doubt protects you from disappointment; Belief promises you God’s faithfulness. Doubt rehearses excuses to expect little; belief rests on God’s promises to expect much. The choice is not easy, but it is yours to make.

Mark’s Gospel tells of a father who brought his son to Jesus for healing. Read Mark 9:20-27 NIV. His desperation made him want to believe that Jesus could heal his troubled son. The worried dad conditioned his request on Jesus’ ability, ”If you can do anything . . help us.” Jesus refocused the dad with his choice to believe, “Everything is possible for him who believes!” The issue is never about what God can or cannot do; His power and authority are unchangeable. The issue is what you will or will not do. Will you choose to believe or doubt? Your response should be as honest as his, “Lord, I believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” He will help you; He will not do it for you, nor can anyone else. The choice is yours.

Anyone, even the best of people, can be infected with a similar attitude that troubled Thomas, a disciple of Jesus. After the crushing disillusionment of Jesus’ crucifixion, Thomas doubted his friends when they reported Jesus was miraculously alive. That was contrary to everything he had ever known and believed possible. When told, he responded with a mistaken certainty, “Unless I see  . . and put my finger into the print of the nails in His hands and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” John 20:25 NKJV. Thomas was as my friend, Kenny, described all of us, “prone to believe our doubts and doubt our beliefs.” Foolishly, we feed our doubts and starve our beliefs. He could believe but only if he would choose to believe; belief is a choice you make, as is doubt. Don’t battle your doubts; choose to believe.

Jesus’ response was so much different than mine or yours would likely have been. With kindness and understanding, Jesus invited Thomas to do exactly what would persuade his trust and dissuade his doubts. Read John 20:26-29 NKJV. It’s just my assumption, but I don’t believe Thomas ever reached his hand to touch Jesus’ hands or side, in spite of Jesus’ invitation. The living Christ standing before him with all the authority of Heaven was overwhelmingly convincing. Listen to Jesus’ words, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” That’s where you and I will walk most of the time – between seeing or believing. The more the Word of God abides in you, belief strengthens and doubts weaken. See John 15:5-7 NKJV. Seek the company of people who encourage your faith. See Hebrews 10:23-25 NLT. Belief is the strongest posture to combat doubt.

My prayer for you today is that your heart will rest sure in God’s Word and character.

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Simple Faith

November 28th, 2012

Simple Faith

Faith is not an option but it is a daily choice.

“Now faith . . is the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 NKJV.

Life cannot be successfully navigated without simple faith, but that is not as simple as you might first expect. Life can become complicated. Faith is not an option but it is a daily choice. Everyday you are faced with diverse matters in which faith is required. Life would be very lonely without choosing to have faith in people. Yet you will struggle because faith in people can be sadly disappointed on occasion.

There is a common level of faith that is natural. You were created to have faith; God made you that way. A child trusts their parent; a spouse trusts their mate; people believe what they’re told, until there are enough times when faith seems disappointed. The desire to believe and dream is innate until life is allowed to strip it away a little at a time. God alone is capable of never disappointing, and circumstances will test even that bedrock truth at times. That’s when you choose faith.

The Bible says, “Now, faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen . . by faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. But without faith it is impossible to please God for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that he is the Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:1-2/6 NKJV. Read those truths again, slowly. Faith is that simple, until you cloud it with needless doubt or complicate it by dubious reasoning. Faith rests upon proven confidence that God is who He says He is and does what He says He will do. Read Romans 3:3-4 NIV. Such confidence is experienced only by the one who chooses “faith . . believes that God is and is the Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Faith in God, His Word and character, does not fail; people fail to have faith. Faith is always from your heart, only rarely from the mind. See Romans 10:8-11 NKJV.

When told by other disciples that they had seen Jesus after His Resurrection, Thomas, a disciple of Jesus,  espoused the tired, old idea that “seeing is believing.” His conclusion? “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands, and put my finger where the nails were . . I will not believe it.” John 20:25 NIV. That is not a satisfying way to live. Imagine how much of life you miss. Thomas was wrong; “Believing is seeing.” See 1 Corinthians 2:9 NKJV. You have two clear choices. Choose faith, believing and expecting God to be God. Or choose faith of a different persuasion which believes only what you can see for yourself. The latter will not work out well for you.

Let me remind you again, faith is not an option but it is a daily choice. “Therefore we do not lose heart . . while we do not look at the things which are seen, but [we look] at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NKJV. There is more for your life than first appears. “Jesus Christ, whom having not seen, you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith – the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:7-9 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that your faith releases glorious and inexpressible joy.

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